I walked home from our camp on Huntington Street lugging a box full of Silver rocks and Silver dust for our Pirate Treasure Chest. I am dirty from the rock breaking and black potato fight at the camp fire. I get to my apartment building and I take the Silver treasure box up to Roger’s landing and I put it near his back door. I walk down to my apartment hoping that my mother was out running errands so she would not have to see me messed up with the Silver dust and potato charcoal stains on my face and clothes. As I walked in the door my luck ran out. There she was sitting at the kitchen table with my sister shucking a big batch of fresh peas for dinner. She gave me that “I’m going to kill you look” as I went to the laundry sink to clean up. She didn’t say a word. As I was getting washed my sister said “Pepino Mom is telling me that you got an award from your teacher but she doesn’t know exactly what the award was all about.” “Yeah, I told mom that my teacher put my name in to be a AAA safety patrol monitor.
I have to take a safety class first. I should get my AAA badge and white sash by the end of the week.” My sister started laughing and said “you’re lucky; Mom didn’t smack you around with the wooden spoon when you walked in looking like shit. She didn’t kill you because Mom is so happy about your award. I’ll tell Mom more about it so she understands that you will now be leaving early and coming home late from school right after you finish crossing the little kids walking home. Congratulations, Miss Kent must really like you and trust you to do a good job.” I’m thinking to myself, wow this AAA patrol must be a big deal for my sister to congratulate me. I don’t think that my mother understood a word of what my sister was saying, she just smiled and move her head up and down. Dinner will not be ready for another hour. I finished washing up; I put on some clean clothes and went up stairs to talk to Roger. I picked up the box with the Silver rocks and lugged it into his apartment. As usual he was in the back bedroom. I see him working on the carpet gun cannon. He’s slicing an old bike tire that now looks a large rubber band. He turns and looks at me saying “Hey Pepino, I think I’ve got it. This bike tire will launch an eight by eight inch carpet from our new cannon.”
Whoa, that’s great; I can’t wait to set up another war game. Roger stopped talking when I put the box of Silver rocks on his work bench and said “Here, we smashed these rocks for our Pirate Red Hook Treasure Chest game. Everybody thinks that his treasure is still buried somewhere in Red Hook Brooklyn. What do you think?” “I say it’s Bullshit, but I love the way these rocks look and glow just like real Silver. How in the Hell did you get your hands on these Mica stones. They’re not easy to find in Brooklyn.” I have a funny look on my face and I think that Roger got the message that I couldn’t tell the difference from Mica or any other rocks in the vacant lots around our neighborhood. So I told him all about Prospector Frank who put together all the Mica stones for us to smash for the Silver. I then told Roger about my AAA Safety Patrol Badge and he put his arm around my shoulder and told me that it was a great honor to be selected to be a school cop. Wow, Everyone I tell about me, Pepino, getting the AAA badge makes such a big deal about it. I feel like an important mucky-mock. I never felt this way before. I left Roger the Professor so he could work on our carpet shooting cannon and the Silver Treasure Chest.
I go back to our apartment, have dinner, do my homework and now I plan head out to find my friends. All of a sudden there’s a knock on our apartment door. I open the door and I see Roger standing in the hallway holding a small wooden chest. I can’t believe what I’m looking at. It’s Roger showing me the Silver Treasure Chest for our Pirate Game. I say, “Roger how did you make it so fast?” “It was easy; you and Prospector Frank did all the heavy lifting. I had the chest in my room for weeks so when you left I just assembled the Silver rocks into the wooden chest and Walla, it was done. It came out so good that I just had to come down to show you.” I stood there in the doorway with my mouth open. I didn’t know what to say so I blurted out, “Thank you. I guess now we can work on the rules for the Pirate Game.” He’s still standing in front of me holding the chest out in his two hands with this big grin on his face. I can tell that he is so happy with the Silver Chest he made. We agreed to meet again this weekend to work on the rules for the game. He turned around and walked back up stairs holding his new creation. I closed the door and got ready to leave.
Now I’m ready to tell my friends or anybody who will listen to me all about my big deal AAA crossing guard badge. I walk up to Columbia Street to call Jimmy Pizza. As I got close to his building I see jimmy sitting on his stoop cutting a hat with a pair of scissors. I walk up to him and say “Hey Jimmy why are you cutting that old hat?” He looks up at me with a smile and says, “My Uncle Tony the Book, told me take his old hats and cut them to make a funky kid cap and decorate it for myself. My Uncle called his old hats Fedoras. So that’s why I’m sitting here cutting this shit. He just gave me a rough idea on how to cut his old Fedoras then flip it inside out but I don’t know what in the hell I’m doing. Here, take this old Fedora and see what you can make out of it.” Hum, this sounds like a good project for me. I can make a new hat that will make me stand out when I’m crossing the little kids to and from school. So I took one of Jimmy’s Uncle’s old Fedoras, Jimmy gave me an extra scissor he had laying on the stoop, I sat next to him and I started cutting off the rim of the old hat just like Jimmy did.
While we were cutting the old Fedoras I told Jimmy Pizza all about my AAA badge and he said. “No shit!”It took us about a half hour of cutting and shaping to make a cap with the base of the cap cut into shark tooth design. Then we flipped the rim pretty much like a sailor’s cap with the shark tooth design facing up. We put the caps on our heads and I thought that we looked like two ferggin cool kids. Then Jimmy said. “Now comes the hard part.” He open a cigar box sitting next to him that was full of old buttons that his mother gave him. The buttons are of every color in the rainbow and they are all different sizes scrambled in the box. The box has three or four sewing needles and two spools of threads. Jimmy took a needle and put some black thread on it and started sewing a bright red button on to the outer rim of his cap. So I followed his lead sewing a yellow button on to my cap. When we finished sewing we put the caps on our heads again and gave ourselves two thumbs up. Then Jimmy said, “My Mom told me that we can get different charms of boats, fish, birds, dogs, soldiers or whatever out of the gumball machine at the Candy Store. We can sew these charms on the top dome of our Fedora caps.
This way each of us will have our own custom design cap.” “Yeah, that’s right. Nobody can put together the same bottoms and charms and duplicate our cap designs. My Fedora cap will then be a one and only.” We thought that we are some sort of artist or something because the cap really looked good. I put the decorated cap on my head and walled around the block to show off my new cap to my friends. As I was walking I started to imagine myself wearing my white sash, AAA badge pinned on it and my new hat when crossing little kids from PS 27. I like the picture I created in my head.